Battle for Swans and Bombers

David Braithwaite

MORE than bragging rights will be up for grabs on Saturday, when Stratford hosts Boisdale-Briagolong in the third Battle of the Avon of the East Gippsland football season.

The Swans will be looking to remain on top of the ladder, while the fourth-placed Bombers are keen to at least maintain the eight-point gap to fifth spot. The Bombers could move into third place with a win, and a Wy Yung loss to Lucknow.

Both teams are coming off big wins, with the Swans perhaps more impressive in thumping Wy Yung, which headed into the match in second spot, by 148 points.

The Swans didn’t let the Tigers gain many easy possessions or allow the visitors to move forward quickly. Nine unanswered goals in the first term set the tone, before the Swans piled on 14 goals in the second half, while not conceding a point.

The Swans had nine goal kickers, led by Haydn Erfurth, who booted five to move within one of Lindenow’s Darren Allen at the top of the league standings. Tim Hawkins and Nick French kicked four goals.

The Bombers defeated Paynesville, which is out of finals contention, by 68 points.

Following on from four goals against Orbost-Snowy Rovers, Dylan Bolton booted six against the Gulls, while Brandon Rathnow and Shaun Bates continued their strong recent form.

Boisdale-Briagolong is enjoying a three-game winning streak, but those victories were over teams outside the top four.

The Bombers, however, will not be daunted by the challenge of facing the Swans, having defeated the ladder leaders in their previous meeting.

In round eight, the Bombers withstood a final quarter comeback to win by five points — the Swans’ most recent loss.

The two matches between the sides this season have been close, with the home side victorious in both. In round one, the Swans won by seven points.

LINDENOW will need to defeat second-placed Lakes Entrance to remain in fifth position.

Having won their past two matches, the Cats will also need victory to keep within reach of the top four.

The Seagulls, unbeaten for five weeks, had a solid 33-point victory over Lucknow last weekend, and will be looking to consolidate their claim for the double chance during the finals.

LUCKNOW will be aiming to end a three-game losing streak when it hosts Wy Yung.

The sixth-placed Magpies are in danger of drifting out of finals contention.

Wy Yung’s run of five straight wins came to an abrupt end when it was thumped at Stratford, but the Tigers still have time to push for spot in the top two.

THE bottom two teams on the ladder will meet, with Orbost-Snowy Rovers heading to Paynesville.

The seventh-placed Gulls will be looking to ensure the Blues get the wooden spoon.